Late bus worries parent

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coming home late can be worrisome for those who are waiting, especially when the person who is late is a child riding the school bus home.

Monday was the first day of after school tutoring for the Pearl River Central School District and a kink and an unexpected event delayed one student by almost two hours. Parent Tanya Raverty said her child came home Monday evening at 7:22 p.m. after attending a tutoring session.

“I didn’t know if my kid was dead … in an accident or anything,” Raverty said.

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Upon enrolling her child in the program, she was told that her child would be home no later than 5:30 p.m. on tutoring days. When the child didn’t return home until 7:22 p.m. she became somewhat disgruntled.

She was told that a child on the bus became ill, causing her child’s bus to turn around, head back to the bus barn where the remaining children were loaded onto another bus. Superintendent Dennis Penton said the sick child had thrown up on the bus and it’s common practice not to subject the children to that kind of situation any longer than necessary. Sick children are taken back to the school and their parents are called to come pick them up, he said.

Raverty was most concerned that no one had called to notify her of the situation. She said she was about to call the Sheriff’s Department to find out where her child was.

“Obviously things are not being done the way they should be down there,” Raverty said.

She said if children in school were allowed to have cell phones, her child could have called her to let her know what was going on.

Typically her children have a 45-minute bus ride home after school when they don’t attend tutoring, Raverty said.

Penton said typically the first day of any new school bus route causes delays. Raverty’s incident was unique in that a sick child caused the bus to return to the bus barn to call the child’s parents and to move the remaining children to a clean bus.

Notification was not made to the parents because Penton said the district did not expect the delay to be as substantial as it was. A procedure will be put into place to notify parents when future severe delays in bus schedules are experienced, Penton said.